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  • Writer's pictureGreg Ezell

The Rogue Prince of Persia Early Access Impressions

Rogue prince of persia title card
Should you buy The Rogue Prince of Persia?

Sometimes there is a game that comes out that is completely off of your radar and you wonder how that ever came to be. In a gaming landscape where there are fistfuls of new games being released every single day, it shouldn’t be a surprise when that situation happens, but it's a good feeling when you get your hands on said game and it delights you. 

The Rogue Prince of Persia was that game. 

I did not have this game on my radar at all. Maybe I was too swept up in the Hades 2 Early Access hype or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but when my co-host Court messaged our Three Dads chat and said “Hey, I have the perfect game for you.”, I wondered just how good The Rogue Prince of Persia could be. 

I’ve dabbled in The Prince of Persia franchise, but I don’t have the passion for it that most people do. When Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown was announced, I wasn’t one of those people doing back flips onto the hype train. It looks good and Court had a blast playing it, but it quickly fell off of my radar as other games came out. 

Maybe that’s why I wasn’t “in the know” about The Rogue Prince of Persia and didn’t have it on my radar. I remember seeing it on some showcase because I remember the vivid color scheme and roguelites will usually catch my attention. But there was something about it that, during said announcement, that didn’t grab me like one would have thought. 

rogue prince finds a villager
The game is beautiful, but NPCs like this have no real dialogue yet in Early Access.

Surely, I should have known when I saw who developed this game, that this would have been right up my alley. The Rogue Prince of Persia is developed by Evil Empire Studios, the minds behind one of my favorite roguelites of all time: Dead Cells

For the uninitiated, there’s some interesting drama, if that’s the correct term, behind Evil Empire and Motion Twins in regards to Dead Cells, but that is neither here nor there. If you want to fully invest yourself in what happened, you can google it after this review! 

I think it would be pretty easy for me to just say “This is Dead Cells with a Prince of Persia vibe” and leave it at that, but there are some pretty fun mechanics that differentiate the two titles. Truthfully, it is very close to Evil Empire’s previous title. The Rogue Prince of Persia is a side scrolling roguelite where you move through a level, searching it for all kinds of goodies until you find an exit. 

The Rogue Prince of Persia is about the Prince trying to save his village from the Huns. The Huns have seemingly burned down villages and palaces and it is up to you to push them back and make sure that your people are fine. It seems that the Huns have Along the way, you’ll meet characters who will set up in your base camp and provide you with services to help you in your journey.When he dies, a magical talisman allows him to keep his memories. He knows he failed and it bothers him, but he continues his fight against the Huns. This also works for everyone as base camp. Unlike NPCs in the game, the base camp folks don’t have their memories wiped and remember everything that happened the previous day. It pushes the story along and really gets you ready to fight the Huns. I wish I could say the same for the NPCs throughout the world. 

Rogue Prince's base camp
Your base camp will continue to add new NPCs to it.

Right now, a lot of these side characters just seem like empty vessels with a story that will be attached to them later. I met a village leader, Azadeh, who has some dialogue but it doesn’t really seem to lead anywhere. Any time I’ve met her after a couple of interactions, she’s had nothing new to say. I don’t know if she will get a storyline or a spot at your base camp upon full release, but right now she just feels out of place. 

With a game being in Early Access, I would expect this to happen and it doesn’t bother me too much. I’ve played many Early Access games where threads aren’t 100% sewn into the story and if you go into this with the mindset that something - or everything - could drastically change, then you just roll with it. 

The movement in The Rogue Prince of Persia is incredibly fluid. Jumping from platform to poles jutting out of a wall to the wall-running feels excellent. One of this games main mechanics is wall-running on a 2D plane and it is used to extend your motion and create more jumping spaces. It shocked me how good this mechanic has been implemented. Again, I hate to keep referring to Dead Cells when talking about this game, but the bones of one great roguelite have been implemented into another. Dead Cells movement, especially while dodging, was so smooth and made you feel like a demon slaying badass. 

wall running
Wall-running feels so good as The Prince

This is more of the same from The Rogue Prince of Persia. The wall-running mechanic, combined with a fluid combat system of heavy and light melee attacks, in-air down thrusting to break shields and vaulting mechanics really make everything a tight little package. 

Enemies come shielded and unshielded and there is a decent variety of melee, hack and slash, bow and flying enemies. They are quite varied depending on the level, with Hun spearmen joining the fight in the palace levels. 

So ultimately, The Rogue Prince of Persia plays well and thankfully it runs well. I’ve been playing this one primarily on my Steam Deck and I’ve been able to hit 45-60 frames per second. The nice thing about a game like this is that it is pretty much download and play; there are no setting changes needed in a bigger game like Baldur’s Gate 3 or Helldivers II to make it run. In the words of Todd Howard: “It just works”. 

On my PC, it ran extremely well which isn’t a surprise if the game can function on a Steam Deck. I have a 4K, 75 hz monitor and The Rogue Prince of Persia looks so good. As I said on our latest episode of Three Dads and a Console, the game pops! The use of yellows and pinks are such a breath of fresh air among a gaming landscape that loves its blacks and grays and whites. There is so much color in this game and Evil Empire did a wonderful job with the look. It is different, for sure, and this type of different is good! 

Ultimately, I’ve really enjoyed my few hours with The Rogue Prince of Persia. It will continue to get heavy rotation on my Steam Deck, but the content is a little light. This isn't really surprising given that the game is in Early Access and Evil Empire is already looking for player feedback. For that reason, it gets a 7.5. Fun game, beautiful looking, a little light in content right now.

controller w/ a 7.5 score


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